I recently had the great pleasure of participating in The Senior Civic Academy, sponsored by the City of Boston's Elderly Commission. It was a pilot project over the course of five Fridays, focusing on advocacy by and for seniors, with presentations by panels of experts from a wide range of programs.—A report from Carol Leary
The Stop Bullying Coalition recently had the honor to meet with our elected representatives, Senator Joan Lovely (2nd Essex) and Representative Thomas Walsh (Peabody), to advocate for consideration of our proposed legislation designed to address two critical needs of tenants who are elderly or living with disability, and reside in public or subsidized housing, and are victims of bullying.
A bill protecting elderly and persons with disability from bullying, mobbing, and hostile environment harassment in multifamily subsidized and public housing. This bill mandates and empowers the trained abuse investigators of the Department of Elder Affairs and the Disabled Persons Protection Commission to investigate complaints of bullying, and to refer as appropriate situations of hostile environment harassment and mobbing for prosecution of the landlord by the Attorney General or the District Attorneys. The Stop Bullying Coalition is advocating for this legislation, and the draft text can be reviewed here. We seek your input and support.
Letter to Attorney General Maura Healey, revised for publication: I write to seek your advice and help to resolve the problem of bullying in multifamily public and subsidized housing, the home to 92,000 residents, including elderly and people with disability.
Letter to Hon Charles D Baker, seeking action on bullying of elderly and disabled persons in public and subsidized housing. Revised for publication.
We have a vision and plan for a home that is safe, secure, and peaceful, protecting us from bullying and harassing. The storms of mobbing and hostile environment harassment are the worst threats. When a community harasses and bullies a victim, and the landlord initiates, condones, or ignores these attacks, that is mobbing. When victims are unable to have the peaceful enjoyment of their residency, that is hostile environment harassment. We need to create protection for victims and hold landlords to account for their illegal behavior.
- Report to Mass Union
- Survey research, much progress
- Legal research, accountability
- Comparing toxic and healthy communities
- Outreach and education on legal protections
- Best practices
- Working together, bridging differences
- Action items
On October 19, 2017, Jerry Halberstadt, Coordinator of the Stop Bullying Coalition and a Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission on Bullying, spoke on the role of advocacy and legislation on bullying at the online conference of the National Workplace Bullying Coalition in the context of National Bullying Awareness Month.
Victims of bullying ask, "Does anyone, anywhere care?" We do care. We are the Massachusetts Commission on Bullying, and I am one of the Commissioners as well as Coordinator of the Stop Bullying Coalition. Your Beacon Hill legislators do care, and they gave us the responsibility not only to care, but to find ways to protect you from harm and protect your rights. We will find ways to protect elderly and disabled residents. Now we are reaching out to you to learn what causes bullying and what can prevent bullying and create healthy communities.
The main way to understand what conditions permit or inhibit bullying is to ask How and Why? through qualitative research: observing, listening, and comparing. The main way to understand prevalence is to ask How many? and count, or estimate through a sampling process, the number of locations with bullying and compare it to the total number, which for public and subsidized housing in Massachusetts, is 1,400 residential developments, with over 92,000 units.